Thursday, January 31, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 85




I used some matte-board cut out circles to help me to layout some lines on the bottom of the leg sockets on the torso. I am supporting the torso in an empty lightweight cardboard oatmeal container, which just happens to fit the torso snuggly. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I used the U gouge to cut up to the lines. This is a start. I still have to figure out what to do next.






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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 84




I have a vague idea of what I want to do with the hip joints, so these are some of my notes to myself about what I am thinking about. It probably does not make much sense at this time, but this is why I am journaling the making of this ball-jointed doll. I am hoping it will make sense at some point in the process.

I welded the pieces that I cut from the top of the legs to the torso, then used a sharp dental tool to scribe a line around those pieces, for the purpose of leveling the bottoms of the pieces, so the torso would stand solidly on a flat surface. I used my paring knife to cut the excess carving wax. As I got down close to the line, I started to rub the pieces I was carving on some rough sandpaper in order to see the high spots. Click on any image to enlarge it.






The high spots are easy to see after rubbing on the rough sandpaper.






Once I have the pieces carved down to the line, I can check the torso with a combination square to see if it is leaning to far one to the left or right.






I can do the same thing with the side view, checking it against my working drawing.






The same thing for the back view.






This is a back view of the torso sitting on top of the legs.






This is the front view of the torso sitting on top of the legs. The trick for me is going to be how am I going to fit the hip balls in there, and maintain the correct height of the doll. I am trying to figure this out. At this point, it will require some trial and error experimentation.






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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 83






The torso in the oatmeal container provided a very stable working area. I decided to go ahead and try attaching the pieces I cut off the top of the legs to the torso. I welded the pieces onto the torso from the inside. I left the outside cut lines for some sort of reference. Now I can cut and carve the pieces I have welded to the torso, and later, if I do not like what I have done, I can always cut them off again, using the outside cut lines. If I end up liking what I do, then I can weld the pieces from the outside, fill in the weld, scrape off the excess, and smooth the weld seam with sandpaper. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I placed the carving wax torso on a smooth, flat piece of plywood. I taped a sharp dental tool to a flat pencil, and scribed a line around the bottom of the pieces I had welded onto the torso. Next I will cut around the scribed lines with an X-Acto knife, in order to make the pieces more or less level on the bottom.






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Monday, January 28, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 82




I am such a pack rat that I am usually ashamed to invite anyone into my studio, which is stacked with piles of junk, everywhere. Every once in awhile, however, I am happy that I keep some of this junk. In this case, I'd like to share a use for a very lightweight, cardboard oatmeal container: Here it is supporting my carving wax torso, upside down, so I can play with the hip sockets. Click on the image to enlarge it.






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Sunday, January 27, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 81




A design is a consciously shaped form or forms, often deliberately changed or simplified from nature - a statement you want to make to emphasize action or mood but achieved by way of analytical thinking. We certainly need it when we create the neck joint or ending of the neck, the fittings where the arms or hands join the body, and all of the other parts where craft and art should be a unit. ...the choices are endless.
p.58 Learning To Be A Doll Artist. Martha Armstrong-Hand. 1999.

My doll figure was first modeled in oil-clay, then molded and cast in carving wax for the purpose of designing the ball and socket joints. As can be seen in the following photos, I did not model the left and right legs of the doll exactly the same. In these photos, I am using a 66mm matte board cut out to try and see where I need to make adjustments. The matte board circle helps me to see the differences better. Here is the circle on the right leg, and the left leg without the circle. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Here, the circle is on the left leg, and the right leg is without the circle.






I only have one 66mm circle, but with the help of a computer graphics program, I can see what both legs look like, side by side, with circles on them.






In the same manner, I can see both legs without the circle.



These are the things I am doing to try and figure out what I need to do next, to put the hip balls on the legs. I am not quite sure if I need to trim the legs down a little bit more, or what? I have a lot of questions that need to be answered. The only way to answer them is to work on my doll.




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Saturday, January 26, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 80




One of the first references I always consult when I am thinking about dolly ball and socket joints is twigling's Zen and the Art of Articulating Dolls by Using Balljoints (Copyright 2007 Therese Olsen). Even though her emphasis is on resin ball-jointed dolls, her joint research is very thorough. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Of course, Martha Armstrong-Hand's book, Learning To Be A Doll Artist (1999) is really the only reference for making a porcelain BJD, using oil-clay and carving wax. However, she does not really go into many details about joint design, but she does encourage experimentation through the trial and error method to find out how to design the ball and socket joints. Some of the most important points are summarized below.



The cups or sockets of the chest and hip pieces must be shallow to allow for arm and leg cups.
 Bravely invent and experiment until the joint does what you want it to do!
 Our choices are limited due to the material we employ.
We have to allow for a pour hole in every part we create.


Doll Artist Allison Mecleary has a very nice FREE Step-By-Step Porcelain BJD Making Tutorial at Woodland Earth Studio, using Polymer Clay as the modeling material.




The Japanese artist who created the first resin Dolfie for Volks, back in  1999, was inspired by a Victorian-style BJD. Many of these types of dolls were similar to the antique composition-body doll shown below.






The Japanese aesthetic has been very influential to many contemporary BJD makers. Below, are some photos from Ryo Yoshida's book, Yoshida Style Ball Jointed Doll Making Guide (2006). Yoshida's book describes how to make a One Of A Kind BJD using LaDoll air-dry clay.









The photo below shows an excerpt from Aimi's book, How to Make Your First Ball-jointed Doll (2011). It is very similar to Yoshida's book, and the doll described in the step-by-step tutorial is also an OOAK BJD made with LaDoll air-dry clay.






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Friday, January 25, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 79




Another thing I am considering doing is to weld the tops of the legs to the bottom torso. I am not sure about this. I think I will be able to control the shape of the socket in torso better if I do it this way. After all, the way I cut the legs off the oil-clay torso had more to do with getting the legs off in one piece than designing hip joints. Now that I am designing hip joints, it may be easier to do it this way?. Click on the image to enlarge it.






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Thursday, January 24, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 78




Now I must figure out how much carving wax to carve from the legs and hips of the torso so that the figure will be the correct height. Click on the image to enlarge it.






This is a note to myself about the length of the front of the legs before I cut off the top.






This is a note to myself about the length of the back of the legs before I cut off the top.






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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 77




Just as I did yesterday, I started by making a cut, with an X-Acto knife, around the top of the leg, along the line I scribed the other day. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Then I used the jeweler's alcohol lamp to heat the blade of the X-Acto knife, and cut all the way through the leg. I did this over and over again, all around the top of the leg, following the scribed line.






Finally, the cut was completed, and the top of the leg was removed.






I cleaned up the cut with the paring knife. I will be fitting a hip ball to the top of the leg.






The important thing is to get the legs the same height. If one leg is shorter than the other leg, the finished doll may have trouble standing.






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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 76




I use an X-Acto knife to cut along the line I made yesterday. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I use my jeweler's alcohol lamp to heat the blade of the X-Acto knife. I try to keep the blade as perpendicular to the leg as I insert the blade through the leg. Then I reheat the blade and repeat the action, over and over, until the leg is cut through all the way around the line.






Here, the cut can be seen, going all the way through the leg, along the line.






Finally, the cut is complete.






After I cut the other leg, I will be fitting hip balls to the tops of the legs.






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Monday, January 21, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 75




I used masking tape to secure the legs to a turntable. I have several combination squares in my studio, so I combined the parts of two of them to make a holder for a dental tool, which I taped on one of the parts with masking tape. I adjusted the tool to the height I wanted to scribe a line on the legs. Then I turned the turntable and scribed the line with the sharp point of the dental tool. This was done slowly and carefully. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I am surprised at how much of the leg I may need to cut off. This scribed line is the same distance from the turntable on each leg, so hopefully each leg will be the same length.



I will be measuring down from this scribed line in order to cut the legs into upper and lower legs at the knees.




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Sunday, January 20, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 74




I have an idea about how to proceed with making the hip joints. I am not sure it will work, until I have tried it. The first thing I did was to lightly weld the carving wax feet to the legs. Then I banded the legs together with rubber bands. I am going to try and cut the top of the legs off, and I want to get them as close as possible to the same length. I have banded them together so I can adjust them, and scribe a line around the tops of the legs, at the same distance from the top of the table. Click on any image to enlarge it.






This is a side view. I will be trying to scribe the line around the legs at the lowest point in the back of the legs, where the bum meets the legs.






This is the back view. It is fairly easy to see the lowest point. That curve follows the curve of the bum.



The whole idea behind this attempt at positioning the ball is to maintain the height of the doll, without making the doll shorter or taller, and also to make the joint posable.




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